The business of farming: Agribusiness Congress East Africa
The business of farming, the effect of climate change in agriculture and attracting young people to the agri-sector are some of the main topics on the agenda at the annual Agribusiness Congress East Africa
The business of farming, the effect of climate change in agriculture and attracting young people to the agri-sector are some of the main topics on the agenda at the annual Agribusiness Congress East Africa.
This high-level business-to-business and business-to–government event moves to a considerably larger and more accessible venue and will be hosted at Mlimani City Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 27 to 28 January 2016.
Previously hosted by the Tanzanian President, Vice President and the country’s ministers of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperativesas well as Livestock and Fisheries, 2016 will see more than 700 agricultural stakeholders gather for the third edition of the conference which incorporates an indoor and outdoor exhibition.
Says Shanaaz Adams, Agribusiness Congress East Africa event director: “the enthusiasm with which the agricultural industry and regional authorities have embraced Agribusiness Congress East Africa right from the launch of this event, shows that we are addressing a real need in the sector for a meeting place for private and public sector stakeholders throughout the East African region, key decision makers, industry suppliers and farmers of all scales, to discuss critical issues facing the sector, learn from case studies and network”.
The importance of farming in East Africa
“Agriculture is the mainstay of the Tanzanian economy,” says Janet Bitegeko, Executive Director for the Agriculture Council of Tanzania (ACT), host partner to the event. She continues: “this is also true to all countries in Eastern Africa. It contributes around 24 percent of the GDP and 34% of the export earnings. Approximately 70 percent of the country’s population depends on agriculture related activities for their survival, and over 95 percent of the food we eat is produced locally. This data testifies to the central role played by the agriculture sector in our endeavours to speed up economic development.”
The conference programme of Agribusiness Congress East Africa will address farming finance, skills development and input productivity for commercial viability as well as look at rural financing and small scale and emerging farmer sector growth areas.
Effect of climate change on farming conditions
“I’m particularly excited that we are placing the spotlight on the issue of climate change, with Africa already experiencing earlier, more severe and more damaging impacts of climate change than other parts of the world,” says the Agribusiness Congress East Africa event director.
She adds: “With a dependence on rain fed agriculture, East Africa is particularly vulnerable and susceptible to the ill-effects such as drought and erratic rainfall patterns. Without the know-how and knowledge of how to deal with these challenges, farmers and producers face lower yields which in turn create a ripple effect throughout the agricultural value chain.
Part of the congress will focus on this new global shift in thinking and the way we do things. Key issues will be addressed with case studies and solution driven discussions around responsible and sustainable farming methods to help the African farmer overcome this crucial challenge which could impact on its food security.”
She continues: “Agribusiness Congress East Africa will also offer a platform for Youth Farming. We will be listening to young voices from all over the East African region, the next generation of farmers and their take on these challenges and how they are overcoming them. We will take a look at innovations and modernisation; the introduction of technology in farming as well as the importance of family farming.”
East Africa as an agri destination
Tanzania has proven to be an excellent location for this event according to Shanaaz Adams: “Tanzania is emerging as one of Africa’s top agricultural destinations. The government has identified agriculture as priority sector number one according to its 5 Year National Plan. Stable governments play a vital role in the level of investment into a region.”
The region furthermore is making great strides, she notes: “Growth corridors have been identified across several regions in many East African countries. With advantageous policies, ample arable land, a stable economy and government, and a renewed focus on agriculture, Tanzania is a model East African country.”
The indoor exhibition showcases products and services available to the region and will give visitors the opportunity to network with vendors and suppliers and explore new products being launched into the agri market. The exclusive outdoor expo space allows companies to display machinery and products and includes some of the region’s leading solution providers to the sector. Agribusiness Congress East Africa sees attendees from over 20 countries.
Some 60 local and international companies are expected to showcase their products, including Case IH International (Toyota), Greenza, Hughes Motors, Lonagro, Plasco and the RusselStone Group have already confirmed their sponsorship for the event, while Afrivet, FNB, Irrigrow, Riela, Reinke and Senter 360 will also be exhibiting.